YouTube announces new year-end live event, Escape2021

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YouTube will host a 24-hour interactive live event featuring musicians and creators to look back on the platform’s biggest trends and videos of 2021, the company announced today. The event, called Escape2021, will have three chapters, the first of which begins on December 16th at midnight ET. The goal of Escape2021: liberate Lofi Girl from the confines of her bedroom and studies.

Escape2021 comes after the company pulled the plug on YouTube Rewind, the high-production recap videos the company published at the end of each year that had been derided by creators for sanitizing the platform to appeal to advertisers. YouTube said in October it would “refocus our energies” to create different kinds of productions instead. Escape2021 isn’t meant to replace Rewind but offer a new way to celebrate the year’s biggest trends, Lauren Verrusio, a YouTube spokesperson, tells The Verge.

The event seems to be an attempt by YouTube to offer more immersive online experiences, like when fans watched butter melt ahead of a new BTS song. YouTube says there will be trivia questions, trend-based challenges, and “real-time live experiences,” all leading up to musical performances. One example of a challenge, echoing the BTS livestream, will require viewers to identify what butter sculptures the band has melted.

YouTube says the event will include performances and appearances from BTS, Doja Cat, and Mark Rober, among others.

Update December 9th, 4:15PM ET: This story has been updated with a comment from a YouTube spokesperson.

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